I loved this book and read it really quickly. Apparently it’s part of a series that’s loosely based around a coffee shop called The Daily Grind in the trendy London suburb of Hackney.
And here we find Gemma Grey who’s just moved into a house-share nearby. Her life’s not quite turning out to be what she’d planned. After what seemed like an eternal search, she finally landed what seemed like a fairly acceptable job at social media company, ClickFrenzy. Yay! She’s one step closer to accomplishing her dream of working in London and being able to move in with her boyfriend Jack … until they go out to celebrate her new job and he tells her that actually he’s gone and quit his own job and is about to go off travelling the world for six months with his best friend, Olivia! But don’t worry, he tells her, because when he gets back they’ll pick up where they left off and everything will carry on as before, happy as can be!
Gemma is devastated. She knows that even if things turn out as Jack says they will, they can never be the same. But still, she pulls herself together and gets on with her new life and slowly gets used to sharing a house with the rather strange owners Hannah and Richard, and the other tenant Amy. She settles into her job, which turns out not to be as glamorous as expected, being that she spends all day everyday researching and posting everything to do with cats, and she continues with her little hobby … vlogging about makeup.
Until the day that she inadvertently discovers that Jack and Olivia are, in fact, an item, and he subsequently dumps her by email. Truthfully, Gemma was expecting this all along but the fact that it’s actually happened completely destroys her and she has a complete rant about it on her vlog. The next day she’s horrified at what she’s done … until she sees the reactions her post has received and realises that it’s gone viral. Gemma’s life as she knows it is over as she becomes a social media sensation!
I think my enjoyment of this story came mainly from the fact that I work a lot in the social media industry – not on YouTube, but on many other platforms. So I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the reality of it all play out on the pages in front of me. Ms Ranald didn’t sugarcoat the truth of those who make their living in front of the cameras and the fans, or that of the ones who exploit those very people. The lines are very blurred as to what is fact and what is fiction, and as much as I disliked Sloane, whose job is to manage and blend the faces and brands on-screen, I ended up really understanding her and can’t wait to read and review No, We Can’t Be Friends, next month, which focuses on Sloane’s own story.
Gemma struggles to come to terms with her new, glamorous life, especially as she’s still juggling a job, her rent, and a frightening lack of sleep and funds. She’s not sure if this is really who she wants to be and as much as she’s enjoying all the new-found attention, she doesn’t really know if all these followers actually ‘get’ her. Until she’s confronted with a much harsher, shocking truth and once she realises that this is something that she can truly identify with, she hopes that she can finally represent something that has meaning and that will be able to help those around her.
This is a wonderful 5-star read. The author manages to combine easy, light-hearted reading with more serious subject matter, in a way that flows well and which showed empathy and sensitivity.
Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion, finance and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.
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Thank you to Noelle Holten and the lovely people at Bookouture for inviting me and other wonderful bloggers along on this blog tour. Take a look at what they had to say about Out With The Ex, In With The New …